ICMSA meets Labour leader for ‘cross-party farming support’

A farm lobby group has met with the leader of the Labour Party, Brendan Howlin, to highlight key issues facing agriculture, specifically farm incomes, CAP post-2020, Brexit, Mercusor and climate change.

The president of the Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers’ Association (ICMSA), Pat McCormack, has said the aim of the meeting was “to ask for cross-party political support for farming”.

McCormack said that over the coming months, these issues will “significantly influence” the future direction of Irish agriculture and the wider rural economy.

Brexit and Mercusor in particular present major threats and the Labour leader agreed with the ICMSA that these issues need to be addressed in the best interest of Ireland.

The ICMSA also welcomed Labour support for maintaining the CAP budget at least at current levels and emphasising “the absolute need for CAP funding to be directed at farm families and not siphoned off by consultants and bureaucracy”.

Climate

McCormack outlined that the ICMSA believes agriculture is being unfairly targeted in the climate debate and argued for “some degree of balance” to be brought about.

ICMSA also highlighted what it believes is a “clear contradiction” in the EU’s drive to conclude a Mercusor deal.

McCormack believes the deal considers “absolutely no climate change conditions” and said that such a deal would “completely undermine Ireland’s sustainable system of beef production”.

He also noted that a Mercusor deal would be “utterly reckless if the EU is serious about addressing climate change”.

Concluding, the ICMSA’s president said: “Agriculture is facing many challenges over the coming months and the support of all political parties will be required to ensure that Irish farming and the communities that depend on it can be sustained economically, socially and environmentally.”